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"Green Startups Capitalize on Conference Exposure" by Vancouver Sun


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"Green Startups Capitalize on Conference Exposure" by Vancouver Sun

  1. 1. CEO says BlackBerry ▶to stay in Canada BlackBerry chief executive John Chen says, “I don’t have any plans to move out of Canada.” On Friday, BlackBerry Ltd. posted a fourth-quarter loss of $423 million US or 80 cents per share, compared with a profit of $98 million or 19 cents per diluted share a year ago. However, exclud- ing several one-time items, BlackBerry says it reported an adjusted loss from continuing operations of $42 million or eight cents per share for the quarter. The average analyst estimate com- piled by Thomson Reuters had been for a loss of 55 cents per share for the quarter. Revenue fell to $976 million for the three months ended March 1 compared with $2.68 billion a year ago. Analysts had expected about $1.1 bil- lion for the latest quarter. Loblaw closes $12.4B ▶deal to buy Shoppers Loblaw Companies Ltd. said Friday it has closed its $12.4-billion cash-and-stock deal to buy Shoppers Drug Mart Corp., eight months after the takeover was first announced. Under the agreement, which limited the amount of cash avail- able, Shoppers Drug Mart shareholders who chose to receive cash will be paid $49.22 in cash and 0.2592 Loblaw shares for each share. Shoppers Drug Mart shareholders who did not make a choice will receive $26.53 in cash and 0.7363 Loblaw shares for each share. Loblaw received approval last week from the Competition Bureau for the takeover, subject to several conditions including the sale of 18 stores and nine Loblaw- run pharmacies to an independent operator. The combined company has roughly 2,300 corporate, franchised and associate-owned stores across Canada and nearly 1,800 pharmacies. Meat groups lose ▶labelling rules case North American meat producers lost a bid to suspend new country-of-origin la- belling rules as a U.S. appeals court said the regulations don’t violate free speech rights or exceed regulators’ authority. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Wash- ington in a decision Friday said the groups seeking to delay the rule until a lower court could decide the merits of the case were unlikely to succeed in either their free speech arguments or their claim the U.S. Depart- ment of Agriculture had gone too far with its labelling rules. The regulations, which were adopted in May and took full effect in November, require producers to specify the country or countries where an animal was born, raised and slaughtered. Retail packages can’t mix muscle cuts from different countries under a general label. Canada and Mexico are challenging the labelling before the World Trade Organization. Chicken plant told ▶to make $1M upgrade One of the country’s biggest chicken pro- ducers will have to spend at least $1 mil- lion over three years to ensure compliance with federal rules after an Ontario judge convicted it of causing undue suffering to the birds. In a case closely watched by animal-rights groups, Ontario Superior Court Justice Nancy Kastner also fined Maple Lodge Farms $80,000 on two of 20 counts of failing to transport chickens humanely. Kastner placed the company based in Brampton, Ont., on three years probation, suspending the other 18 counts for the duration. E BUSINESSBCSATURDAY, MARCH 29  | 2014  | 604.605.2520 | SUNBUSINESS@VANCOUVERSUN.COM S & P/TSX 14,260.72 81.88 Dow Jones 16,323.06 58.83 TSXVenture 989.73 4.38 S & P 500 1,857.62 8.58 Dollar 90.42¢ US 0.23 Gold 1,293.80 0.90 Oil 101.67 0.39 Natural Gas 4.49 0.10 DERRICK PENNER VANCOUVER SUN They called it the grizzly den, a curtained-off space at the back of Globe 2014’s trade show where the proponents of some 36 clean-tech start-ups got on stage to pitch their innovations to some of the 400 ven- ture investors invited to the forum. In seven-minute increments, the developers of phytochemical pro- ducers or high-efficiency laser pro- jectors or natural fertilizers had a chance to sell their ideas. Then each company had its own stand outside the theatre in the Pow- erHaus Pavilion for longer meet- and-greet sessions. “We have been insanely busy over the last few days,” said Joel Atwater, chief technology officer of Vancou- ver-based HydroRun Technologies, developers of a hydrokinetic electric- ity generator called the HydroKite. The device, which looks a bit like an airplane on its side, gets tethered to a station in a river and generates electricity as it “flies” across a stream in the current below the surface — serving as a clean, reliable and con- stant source of power without hav- ing to dam or divert a stream. The company will test the 40-kilo- watt generator, which is capable of producing enough electricity for 40 homes, in the Fraser River near Agassiz later this year. Generating more electricity means setting up arrays of the HydroKites at the rate of about one megawatt per kilometre of stream. Atwater said they came to Globe looking for the exposure in their bid to find early-adopter custom- ers as they roll out into the commer- cialization phase of their business. They weren’t looking for money per se, but if a strategic investor came along capable of offering more than just cash, he added that they were definitely interested. Besides the prospect of money, PowerHaus gave participants a larger audience of like-minded busi- ness people interested in sustain- able businesses, according to Pat- rick Dodd, vice-president of the firm Mantra Energy Alternatives. Meeting those kinds of people “is often a difficult thing to do outside of venues like this.” Dodd said the most important thing for Mantra was to talk to big- ger companies that might be inter- ested in the 10-employee startup’s technology. Mantra’s concept is to use electrochemical processes to take the carbon dioxide emitted from stationary sources — cement plants or power stations — and con- vert it to other useful chemicals. “We’ve had a lot of great meet- ings and made a lot of connections,” Dodd said. That was music to the ears of ven- ture investor Mike Volker, somewhat of an impresario for PowerHaus. “It’s all about helping startups, especially in the green-tech space,” he said. The PowerHaus pavilion got its start out of a bit of Volker’s own networking. He runs a regular startup event, the PowerHaus Net- work, which invites new companies to lunch to meet with investors or potential partners. Then-Globe Group chairman John Wiebe serves on the board of Volk- er’s GreenAngel Energy, a TSX Ven- ture Exchange-listed tech invest- ment fund, and between them came up with the idea of a pavilion. Volker and his team put together a roster of more than 30 companies, then sent out invitations to potential venture investors. He said 400 said they would come. Deloitte signed on as a major sponsor and Volker’s team enlisted help from a wide range of his contacts to put the program together. “All the companies are telling me that they got better results than they expected,” Volker said. GLOBE 2014 Caps defender inspired by tragic story of U.S. patriot » E11 WHAT FUELS BEITASHOUR? JON BENJAMIN PHOTOGRAPHY Adrien Emery, left foreground, a prototype engineer for Vancouver-based startup HydroRun Technologies, explains his company’s HydroKite, which produces electricity from the flow of water, with an interested attendee of the Globe 2014 trade show on Friday. Green startups capitalize on conference exposure Companies pitch ideas to captive audience of 400 venture investors IN SPORTS Discussion between the pipeline executive and the clean energy advocate on a panel at Globe 2014 remained polite until the end, when sparks flew over a question of the potential of renewables to fulfil demand. Enbridge CEO Al Monaco made the case that it is still tough to integrate wind and solar power into electric grids beyond 20 per cent because of their intermittent nature, to which Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of the pro-renewables Rocky Mountain Institute, countered“baloney.” “This is the single most consistent fairy tale that is spread around,” said Kortenhorst. He contended technologies exist to address the intermittency of power sources and cited examples such as Denmark, which has integrated 45-per-cent renewable power. Panelists on the discussion, titled The Global Energy Mix: Opportunities and Realities, were in diplomatic agreement about the need to get off fossil fuels. The friction was around how quickly the world gets there given rising demand for energy and innovations in production, such as hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas industry. Those developments have moved the world from energy“scarcity to abundance,”in Monaco’s words. He pointed to B.C.’s coast, where proponents are looking to export 28 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas in the form of liquefied natural gas as an example. Petroleum-industry representatives on the panel, Monaco and Ken Lueers, president of ConocoPhillips Canada, said they are decreasing their carbon footprint. Lueers noted that ConocoPhillips has developed oilsands extrac- tion methods that reduce the process’s carbon footprint by 30 per cent and has set targets for its own greenhouse-gas emissions. Monaco added that his company also has greenhouse-gas reduction targets and began amassing its own portfolio of renewable energy production — 1,800 megawatts worth of generation — through $3 billion in investments. However, looking at an energy demand curve rising by 35 to 40 per cent by 2040, Monaco argued that filling it by renewables alone is impractical. Kortenhorst countered that the projections for fossil-fuel demand might not hold given rapid chang- es in energy dynamics. He noted that in China, where government is under massive social pressure to reduce air pollution, renewable energy production is rising faster than fossil fuel energy. Kortenhorst said the future genera- tion of decision makers is more interested in the opposite side of the equation about how to reduce carbon emissions. Derrick Penner, Vancouver Sun Delegates parry over promise of renewables to fill future energy needs ✰ 1.888.859.5388 WESELLBUSINESSESWITH $2M$100MSaLESrEvENUE . INTERIORS . 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